Cookies on oxfam

We use cookies to ensure that you have the best experience on our website. If you continue browsing, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all our cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Close

  • Grows vegetables
  • Fills classrooms
  • Drills wells
  • Empowers women
  • Fights poverty

Only a promise of happiness

£17.99

Product description

Neither art nor philosophy was kind to beauty during the twentieth century. Much modern art disdains beauty, and many philosophers deeply suspect that beauty merely paints over or distracts us from horrors. Intellectuals consigned the passions of beauty to the margins, replacing them with the anemic and rarefied alternative, "aesthetic pleasure." In Only a Promise of Happiness , Alexander Nehamas reclaims beauty from its critics. He seeks to restore its place in art, to reestablish the connections among art, beauty, and desire, and to show that the values of art, independently of their moral worth, are equally crucial to the rest of life. Nehamas makes his case with characteristic grace, sensitivity, and philosophical depth, supporting his arguments with searching studies of art and literature, high and low, from Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and Manet's Olympia to television. Throughout, the discussion of artworks is generously illustrated. Beauty, Nehamas concludes, may depend on appearance, but this does not make it superficial. The perception of beauty manifests a hope that life would be better if the object of beauty were part of it. This hope can shape and direct our lives for better or worse. We may discover misery in pursuit of beauty, or find that beauty offers no more than a tantalizing promise of happiness. But if beauty is always dangerous, it is also a pressing human concern that we must seek to understand, and not suppress.

The condition of the book itself is very good, owners name on front end paper. Some damage to dust jacket, repaired neatly with sellotape and one unrepaired tear.

Item details

Author(s):
Alexander Nehamas
Condition:
Used: very good
Dimensions:
26 x 21cm
Edition:
First Edition
Format:
Hardback
ISBN-10:
0691095213
ISBN-13:
9780691095219
Number of pages:
186
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Title:
Only a Promise of Happiness

Standard UK Delivery £3.95 per order

Delivery FAQs

Free returns

within 21 days.
Returns policy

About this item

Neither art nor philosophy was kind to beauty during the twentieth century. Much modern art disdains beauty, and many philosophers deeply suspect that beauty merely paints over or distracts us from horrors. Intellectuals consigned the passions of beauty to the margins, replacing them with the anemic and rarefied alternative, "aesthetic pleasure." In Only a Promise of Happiness , Alexander Nehamas reclaims beauty from its critics. He seeks to restore its place in art, to reestablish the connections among art, beauty, and desire, and to show that the values of art, independently of their moral worth, are equally crucial to the rest of life. Nehamas makes his case with characteristic grace, sensitivity, and philosophical depth, supporting his arguments with searching studies of art and literature, high and low, from Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and Manet's Olympia to television. Throughout, the discussion of artworks is generously illustrated. Beauty, Nehamas concludes, may depend on appearance, but this does not make it superficial. The perception of beauty manifests a hope that life would be better if the object of beauty were part of it. This hope can shape and direct our lives for better or worse. We may discover misery in pursuit of beauty, or find that beauty offers no more than a tantalizing promise of happiness. But if beauty is always dangerous, it is also a pressing human concern that we must seek to understand, and not suppress.

The condition of the book itself is very good, owners name on front end paper. Some damage to dust jacket, repaired neatly with sellotape and one unrepaired tear.

Author(s):
Alexander Nehamas
Condition:
Used: very good
Dimensions:
26 x 21cm
Edition:
First Edition
Format:
Hardback
ISBN-10:
0691095213
ISBN-13:
9780691095219
Number of pages:
186
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Title:
Only a Promise of Happiness

Delivery & returns

This item will be dispatched to UK addresses via second class post within 2 working days of receipt of your order. Standard UK delivery is £3.95 per order, so you're only charged once no matter how many items you have in your basket. Any additional courier charges will be applied at checkout as they vary depending on delivery address.

You can find out more about delivery and returns in our help section.

We offer a no quibble returns policy as follows:

Wedding dresses: 14 days

Overseas returns: 31 days

Everything else: 21 days


This item is also available for international delivery by airmail, carrying a mandatory delivery charge of:

Europe: £8.00

Outside Europe: £15.00

Volunteer listed

Wonder how this unique item ended up online?

Most of the second-hand items you see online have been donated, by supporters like you, to our high street stores. Each item is then priced, photographed and listed on this site by our amazing team of volunteers from across the country.

After you have bought your item, our team of volunteers package and dispatch it from the Shop straight to you or your chosen recipient.

All profits from the sales of our goods go towards funding Oxfam's work around the world. We rely on your donations to sell online so please keep the cycle of goodness going!

To find out more about volunteering with Oxfam, please visit our how to volunteer page.

Oxfam Bookshop Exeter

The Oxfam Bookshop in Exeter sells ... books (and a few cards). Our shelves are packed with a wide range of books - we hope always to have something for everyone, from the most serious bibliophile to the more casual customer, and we're always happy to help you if you can't find what you want.

View Shop